George Lazenby as James Bond, smooth British secret agent
Estoril, Portugal, September 1969
Film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Release Date: December 18, 1969
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Tailor: Dimi Major
Costume Designer: Marjory Cornelius
This year commemorates the 50th anniversary of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, often considered among the best of the James Bond canon. George Lazenby, the Australian actor who batted 1000 with OHMSS as his sole outing as 007, has also activated his Instagram presence this year, sharing photos of himself in many of the same locations he had made famous a half-century ago as the world’s most famous secret agent.
George’s #OHMSS50 tour included calling on the celebrated Palácio Estoril, the Portuguese hotel where his James Bond spent the early scenes of OHMSS chasing and seducing Diana Rigg’s character, Teresa “Tracy” di Vincenzo. During the visit, he even interacted with many of the hotel’s staff who were still in the Palácio Estoril’s employ 50 years after their on-screen cameos.
Today, on the 00-7th of July, let’s take a look at the timeless summer-friendly style that Lazenby’s James Bond wore when he pulled his Aston Martin into the parking lot at Palácio Estoril some fifty years ago.
What’d He Wear?
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service kicked off a trio of James Bond movies that featured 007 sporting neutral-toned linen lounge suits, the timeless choice for a gentleman dressing for warmer weather.
While only briefly seen during his check in to the famous hotel, George Lazenby’s cream linen suit marked a fashion-forward direction for the new Bond as audiences got acquainted with the first actor to assume the role since Sean Connery’s departure. You can read Matt Spaiser’s very in-depth analysis of this suit at The Suits of James Bond.
There’s little that can be added to Matt’s exploration of this suit, one of several tailored by Dimi Major for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The single-breasted jacket’s notch lapels roll to a two-button front that Lazenby keeps correctly fastened with just the top button throughout the sequence. The jacket’s flapped hip pockets are slanted, a fashionably less-than-formal detail of late ’60s tailoring, and Lazenby wears no pocket square in the welted breast pocket. The longer double vents indicate the predominant styles of the approaching decade, and the single button on each cuff is an additionally rakish detail that broke from Bond’s tradition to that point of wearing suit jackets and sports coats with multiple buttons on the cuffs.
Pink is a fine accent color for beige or cream linen suits, though Lazenby’s pink cotton shirt is arguably better than the short pink tie that Sean Connery would wear with his linen suit in the following Bond adventure, Diamonds are Forever. The venerable Frank Foster crafted Lazenby’s shirt, which has a semi-spread collar, front placket, and one-button rounded cuffs, marking the first time that James Bond would wear a simple buttoned barrel cuff shirt with a suit and tie rather than French cuffs or the character’s signature “cocktail cuffs”.
Lazenby’s dark navy knit tie unifies his look with the legacy of James Bond’s wardrobe as featured in the novels of Ian Fleming, who often wrote of Bond’s black knitted silk ties with his navy suits, and the films featuring Sean Connery, who sported knitted silk ties in Goldfinger when not wearing the grenadine ties of his other movies. The dressy, businesslike aesthetic of a dark navy tie may be jarring, especially considering that it’s the same neckwear Lazenby would sport with his navy three-piece suit at the office, but the tie’s knitted texture harmonizes with the sporty linen suit.
As pleats were considered antiquated by 1969 (having yet to make their 1980s renaissance), it’s no surprise that Lazenby’s fashionable suit would break from James Bond’s sartorial tradition with its flat front, though they do likely have side adjusters and are not worn with a belt.
The trousers are straight and narrow through the legs to the plain-hemmed bottoms that break high that show off both his cream leather plain-toe single-strap loafers and the dark socks that interrupt the leg line from trouser to shoe. Trousers with no break make it particularly important for the wearer to harmonize his hosiery as cream or beige socks would have done. Due to only fleeting glimpses we get of Lazenby’s socks, it’s difficult to ascertain the exact color, whether they’re a contrasting charcoal gray, an uninspired black, or at least a dark navy to coordinate with his tie.
Gents hoping to take the sartorial leap of owning a pair of well-made white or cream monk shoes would surely not regret their decision, though the current offerings of menswear retailers don’t make it easy with pickings limited to Stacy Adams’ excessively textured and detailed “Giannino” wingtip monk shoes or these Mezlan double monk shoes in off-white suede. Should neither option prove fruitful, one could always safely step into a pair of brown or tan monk shoes or go the Ripley route of white penny loafers à la Alain Delon in Plein soleil.
The brief sequence pays little attention to Lazenby’s wrist, but he no doubt wears the same stainless Rolex Submariner dive watch that had become a staple of James Bond’s style since Dr. No (1962), the first film of Sean Connery’s tenure, though Lazenby—and Roger Moore to follow—would wear their Rolex watches on a steel Oyster-style link bracelet rather than the striped nylon NATO straps. The Submariner, ref. 5513, has a black bezel and dial.
As this is technically #CarWeek, let’s refresh a previous look at the 1968 Aston Martin DBS Vantage that George Lazenby’s 007 drove in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, following the tradition of the earlier James Bond films that placed the quintessentially British secret agent behind the wheel of a quintessentially British sports car.
Aston Martin introduced the DBS in 1967 as an intended replacement for the smaller DB6, itself a successor to the DB5 that had been popularized as 007’s gadget-laden sports car in Goldfinger and Thunderball. The DBS incorporated a sleek, modernized look that was William Towns’ first design for Aston Martin.
The base model of the DBS was powered by a naturally aspirated inline-six cylinder engine that produced 282 horsepower, though a Vantage performance option increased the output to 325 horsepower with Italian-made Weber carburetors. The DBS Vantage could reportedly reach a top speed of around 150 mph (241 km/h), a limit that Bond certainly would have been eager to test when racing Tracy in a previous scene.
1968 Aston Martin DBS Vantage
Body Style: 2-door coupe (2+2 seater)
Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)
Engine: 3995 cc (4.0 L) Aston Martin DOHC I6 with Weber carburetors
Power: 325 bhp (242 kW; 330 PS) @ 5750 rpm
Torque: 290 lb·ft (393 N·m) @ 4500 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Wheelbase: 102.8 inches (2611 mm)
Length: 180.5 inches (4585 mm)
Width: 72 inches (1829 mm)
Height: 52.3 inches (1328 mm)
(Above stats from Carfolio.com)
In 1969, Aston Martin introduced a V8 engine option for the DBS, and this 5340cc coupe was briefly the fastest four-seater production car in the world. The success of the V8 model signaled the end of the DBS, which ceased production after the 1972 model year, and the design was incorporated into the renamed “Aston Martin V8”.
George Lazenby wasn’t the only James Bond actor to prominently drive an Aston Martin DBS. As debonair dandy Lord Brett Sinclair on The Persuaders!, Roger Moore had a “Bahama Yellow” six-cylinder, five-speed 1970 DBS that was re-badged and re-wheeled to resemble the V8 model. Sinclair was Moore’s final major screen role before he took over as James Bond in Live and Let Die in 1973.
How to Get the Look
With a new, younger James Bond came a refreshed wardrobe, with this summer-friendly cream linen suit accompanied by a colorful shirt and tie setting a fashionable standard for George Lazenby’s 007 at the dawn of a new decade.
- Cream linen tailored suit:
- Single-breasted 2-button suit jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, flapped slanted hip pockets, single-button cuffs, and long double vents
- Flat front trousers with side-adjuster tabs, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Light pink cotton shirt with semi-spread collar, front placket, and single-button cuffs
- Navy knitted silk tie
- Cream leather plain-toe single-strap loafers
- Dark navy socks
- Rolex Submariner 5513 stainless steel dive watch with black bezel, black dial, and stainless Oyster link bracelet
In 2020, Orlebar Brown included a cream linen-cotton blend suit jacket and trousers among the latest additions to their 007 Heritage Collection. I invite readers to enjoy this review of both items by Bond sartorial expert Matt Spaiser.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
This’II do. This’lI do me nicely.